SCOTLAND is overshadowing England in the war against waste, new research has revealed.

Philip Simpson, commercial director at food waste recycler ReFood, said the report from Zero Waste Scotland shows learning from best practice in Scotland is essential for England to see improved results.

The report, published earlier in July, revealed that food waste recycling in Scotland increased by 40% between 2013 and 2017. According to the data, this change has minimised unnecessary landfill and prevented more than 40,000 tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere.

Simpson said: “This is a direct result of legislation implemented in 2012, which mandates businesses in Scotland (producing more than 5kg of food per week) to recycle their food waste.

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“In stark comparison, food waste recycling in England is still optional despite compelling statistics demonstrating the potential of CO2 emissions reduction, the amount of renewable energy that could be harnessed via anaerobic digestion of the waste, as well as the money and resources that could be saved.

“Earlier this year, proposals to implement uniform recycling collections – including separate food waste recycling – were rejected by the Local Government Association (LGA) in England, despite households throwing away more than 7m tonnes of food waste annually.

“However, local authorities in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have all implemented mandated national systems, from which all three countries are all reaping financial and environmental benefits – as we can see from the figures published for Scotland.”

The UK currently has 150 different collection schemes, with many local councils locked into long-term waste contracts.

The LGA suggested that a move to a national system would be a “sensitive issue” for these councils, many of whom would perceive it as handing over their powers to central government.

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But Simpson said “sensitive or not”, the issue needs to be looked at.

“The savings that local authorities could make by reducing the use of landfill, and the subsequent renewable energy generated from recycling of food waste, is far greater than the initial costs of implementing and rolling out a uniform food waste recycling solution,” he continued.

“Scotland’s progress shows the real-world impact of embracing a mandatory ban on sending food waste to landfill and highlights the positive impacts of prioritising recycling,” he went on.

“England has a long way to go to catch up and needs to start now.”